Our next event

September 2020: Accessibility: is Publishing Doing Enough?

Join our panel to discuss accessibility and disability inclusion in publishing – from creating content accessible to all, to making the workplace, roles and wider industry more accessible.

Tuesday 29th September
Register on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrf-ihrz0tGNwIrZXFJfe0mW_ovNMlbyrr

Ruth Wells, Founder at Inventing Change
Simon Holt, Publisher for Micro & Nanotechnology books at Elsevier
Erin Osborne-Martin, Senior Society Partnership Manager at Wiley
Bill Kasdorf, Principal of Kasdorf & Associates, LLC

This is part of Oxford Publishing Society’s new ‘The Big Questions’ series where we discuss some of the most pressing issues affecting the industry today.

Speaker bios
Ruth Wells, Founder at Inventing Change
Ruth has 20 years’ experience in academic publishing including roles in technology, operations and sales. She is now an innovator in publishing and social change, and an advocate in mental health after a severe mental health episode. She shares her ideas through her blog and is currently working with charities and related organisations aiming to solve homelessness and poverty. She also helps lead Publishing Inclusion Enabled, who are a group focused on creating true inclusion and diversity in our industry. Ruth offers a practical approach to cultural change based on personal experience, and has written a book on leadership published on her website.

Simon Holt, Publisher for Micro & Nanotechnology books at Elsevier
Alongside his Publisher role, Simon leads Elsevier Enabled, the organization’s disability employee group. He works to promote a more disability confident and inclusive publishing industry, and has worked across the industry to further this cause, working with organizations including ALPSP and the SSP. He has published several articles in the Scholarly Kitchen, including The Problem Solvers You Don’t Know About Yet, on disability inclusion in the publishing industry.

Erin Osborne-Martin, Senior Society Partnership Manager at Wiley
Erin has worked in scholarly and learned society publishing for more than 15 years, with a focus on editorial, business development, and strategic market analysis. She is a peer mentor at the Backup Trust, a spinal cord injury charity, and a speaker on disability representation and visibility within and outside the publishing industry. Erin also works with Transport for All to make public transportation more accessible to people with disabilities.

Bill Kasdorf, Principal of Kasdorf & Associates, LLC
Bill’s consultancy focuses on editorial and production workflows, XML/HTML/EPUB modeling, information infrastructure, standards and best practices alignment, and accessibility. He is a founding partner of Publishing Technology Partners. Bill is active in the W3C (as the W3C Global Publishing Evangelist and serving on the Publishing Working Group, Publishing Business Group, and the EPUB 3 Community Group) and co-chairs NISO’s Video & Audio Metadata Guidelines Working Group. He is Past President of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). He is a member the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), serving on BISG’s Workflow Committee, the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), and the DAISY Consortium for accessibility. He is the recipient of the SSP Distinguished Service Award, the BISG Industry Champion Award, and the IDEAlliance/DEER Luminaire Award. Bill has written and spoken widely on publishing technology and workflows and accessibility. He is general editor of The Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing and co-editor of the BISG Guide to Accessible Publishing, and serves on the editorial board of Learned Publishing, having guest edited the January 2019 issue devoted to accessibility. In his consulting practice, he has served large international publishers such as Pearson, Cengage, Wolters Kluwer, Kaplan, and Sage; scholarly presses and societies such as NEJM, the National Academies Press, Harvard, MIT, Toronto, Taylor & Francis, Cambridge, IEEE, the American College of Physicians, and the Cochrane Library; aggregators such as VitalSource; and global publishing and library organizations such as the World Bank, the British Library, the Asian Development Bank, OCLC, ORCID, and the Publishing Office of the European Union.

Register to attend on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrf-ihrz0tGNwIrZXFJfe0mW_ovNMlbyrr


Previous events

May 2020: Technology and Publishers: Making It Work

Oxford Publishing Society’s summer online event was all about improving communication between technology and publishing professionals - in-house and externally.

The convergence of print and online has blurred the boundaries between traditional publishing and digital media across all sectors– and the current crisis has massively increased demand. Forward-thinking publishers are constantly looking at ways to market or deliver content across a range of digital channels – and working closely with their technology colleagues and/or forming partnerships with tech organisations. But do both sides always understand each other and work together effectively?

  • How can publishers hone their digital skills and tech expertise?
  • How can they best communicate their publishing and customer needs to technology colleagues or partners?
  • How can technology departments and organisations help publishers better understand their processes and workflows, manage expectations, and ensure the best outcomes?

Our online panel discussed their own experiences, gave advice, and discussed how the publisher–technology relationship is continuing to evolve.


* Nick Barreto, Technology Director, Canelo

* Rebecca Reddecliffe, Product Manager, Wiley

* Nick Robinson, Co-founder, LearnJam

* Laura Summers, Co-founder, BookMachine

If you are a member and would like a recording of this event, please contact us via the homepage.

April 2020: Freelancers and In-House Editors: Making It Work
A collaboration with Oriel Square

Over 70 members joined for OPuS's inaugural online panel discussion via Zoom! We were so pleased to be able to keep providing the Oxfordshire publishing community with insights and useful information, even under lockdown.

Here is a summary of the event:

Publishing has never been more reliant on outsourced professionals – and the freelance workforce has grown exponentially in recent years. This affects no one more so than editors – in 2015, Nielsen reported that 74% of publishers’ editorial departments outsourced services to freelancers.

  • How can editors hone their project management skills and ensure that they are communicating well with freelancers at both briefing stage, and as a project develops?
  • How can freelancers develop their skills further when working outside of a publishing house?
  • How can each side work best with each other and manage their time when collaborating on a range of varied projects?

Our online panel discussed their own experiences, gave advice, and discussed how the publisher–freelancer relationship is continuing to evolve.

This event was in collaboration with Oriel Square:
Oriel Square turns opportunities into publishing. Like you, we are immersed in the policy and the market. Like you, we follow and contribute to the conversation. We'll help you find opportunities to grow your list, and we’ll use our three-phase model to develop concepts into proposals, and proposals through to publication. Take a look at what we've been doing recently in our latest termly newsletter. We also offer in-house, bespoke training courses across a variety of themes. Get in touch and from our very first meeting, you’ll see the impact Oriel Square can have.






Oxford Publishing Society is taking its events programme online!

Even in the face of these unprecedented times, OPuS want to ensure that we are still able to meet the needs of our membership and get you access to great speakers and discussion of contemporary issues affecting the Publishing industry.

Stay tuned - announcement about our first ever webinar event coming very soon!


Previous events

February 2020: Poetry in Motion: Publishing & Poets Today

Poetry Publishing Poster

Thursday 13th February

One of the oldest and most traditional literary forms is finding a new resonance in the 21st century - and in the digital space. With great double digit growth of poetry sales over the past 5 years and the rise of viral ‘Instagram poets’, a genre once thought to be niche is having a renaissance.

As well as a specially pre-recorded introduction and reading from Michael Schmidt, Managing Director of Carcanet, we were also joined by Ben Parker-Jones, poet and UK Assistant Marketing Manger at Berghahn Books. As well as reading from his own work, Ben explored these developments, and discussed his experience of being published as a poet. We very much appreciated the audience's spirited involvement in the Q&A and patience with the unavoidable cancellations that affected this event.


November 2019: The Future of Social Media for Publishers

The Future of Social Media for Publishers

Social media is a fast-changing landscape – beyond simply having a single Twitter account or a Facebook page, publishers and their authors are increasingly able to interact directly with their readers within social platforms. Peoples’ habits around social media are shifting constantly too, for example moving toward more visual content.

How are social media roles in publishing and their focus changing as the industry adjusts to these new kinds of engagement? How can choice of platform be decided to fit with the author and/or the content a publisher is working with? Which platforms are growing and how can publishers capitalise on this and build communities online?

Focusing on their own experience in an industry needing to stay ahead of the curve, our panel of 3 speakers gave some unique insight into this vital issue in publishing. This was essential listening with some great viewpoints on how publishing professionals expand their digital marketing, the increasing importance of data, and this can influence publishing strategy.


Leanne MacDuff – Consultant, Content & Social Media Marketing Campaign Strategist / Social Media Manager, Oxford University Press

Bethany Farr – Social Media Manager, Taylor and Francis Group

Leena Norms – Social Media consultant, Podcaster, Youtuber / Social Media Producer, Vintage Books


October 2019: Future Proof Your Career in Publishing

  • How easy is it to progress in publishing and move between market sectors and different roles?
  • What are the key elements you need to build your career?

Focusing on their own specific work experience in moving onwards and upwards from entry level jobs, three speakers from a wide range of companies gave their unique insight into the diverse profession loosely referred to as “publishing” at our annual careers event.

Our speakers were:
• Kim Wiles – Senior Product Manager, RM Education
• Simone Drinkwater, Vice President of Business Development, Casemate Group
• Alexandra Shakespeare, Senior Lecturer in Publishing, Oxford Brookes University

This event was sponsored by Atwood Tate.



August 2019: Summer Party - joint event with SYP Oxford

We had a great time catching up with our colleagues from across the Publishing community at  The Jam Factory

SYP Oxford and OPUS Summer Party


July 2019: Author Event 'Bart van Es, The Cut Out Girl'

An evening with Bart van Es

Author of 2018 Costa Book of the Year, The Cut Out Girl

‘After the war, the life that these hideaways had brought to the families was missing. Each girl had been imagined as a daughter or a sister only to vanish without so much as a farewell. They could not have known it, but these cut out girls left holes behind.’

For our annual author event, we welcome the author, Professor Bart Van Es for a talk on the book, and his personal journey into his family’s past and his country’s history. The Cut Out Girl is the extraordinary true story of a young Jewish girl in Holland during World War II, who hides from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families, one of them the author's grandparents.

In this talk, the author will describe the evolution of his prize-winning book from its first conception, including his conversations with publishers and the book trade.

Thursday 11th July

Drinks 6.30pm

Talk 7pm


Headington Hill Hall

(Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus)


Free to OPuS members / £10 non-members

Register now on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/opus-event-an-evening-with-bart-van-es-author-of-the-cut-out-girl-tickets-62317055992#


Past Events

March 2019: 'Open Access: Who Pays?'

Everyone has heard of open access, but how many of us really understand how it works?

Gold open access research now accounts for 20% of the world’s research output, and it’s growing – fast. At the same time, pressure from various stakeholders means publishing models are also evolving. What makes journals ‘compliant’? What about author choice? Where does the money come from, where does it end up, and why?

Our highly knowledgeable panel discussed the drivers of open access in its wider context of open research, unpicked the myriad deals and models made and implemented (or in some cases not) by publishers, and debated some of the movement’s potential limitations, alongside its benefits.

Our speakers were:

• Lucy Oates, Publisher, Open Access, OUP
• Miriam Maus, VP, Editorial Management, Wiley
• Michael Brown, Consultant on STM publishing strategy and innovation

This event was sponsored by Westchester Publishing Services



OPuS AGM - 7th February 2019

Our AGM was held on Thursday February 7th ahead of our Audiobooks event - more details including the full minutes  are available on the AGM section of the website.


February 2019: Audiobooks: The Saviours of publishing or just a good listen?

Our first event of 2019 was a fascinating look at the exponential growth of the audiobooks industry, with a varied and highly knowledgeable panel of speakers discussing their experiences and views of this rapidly changing sector.

The recent boom in audiobook sales is welcome news for the book industry and this sector is now said to be the fastest-growing area of consumer publishing. According to the PA, spending on audiobooks has more than doubled in the past five years, agents are reporting greater competition to retain audio rights when negotiating new deals, and some publishers are developing their own dedicated audiobook imprints.

Where does the industry go next? What should publishers be doing to capitalise on the opportunity and take advantage of the growing range of models and retail channels available for audio?


Our speakers (picture below with our event chair, James Harrison) were:

Jo Forshaw, Freelance Audiobook Publishing Expert

Having previously tinkered with audio as an agent, a retailer and then programmer for a wee radio station, Jo Forshaw ran the audio publishing team at HarperCollins until 2017. Taking HarperCollins from 80 titles a year to audio editions of pretty much every print title across HC via the infamous Total Audio project, Jo has overseen thousands of audiobooks, created partnerships with retailers and publishers and driven revenue up massively. Now a freelance consultant, she advises on everything audio, from strategy and programme planning and to casting and recording.

Catherine O'Brien, Chief Executive, Essential AudioBooks LLC (New York)

Essential Audiobooks was launched at the beginning of June 2016 and publishes audio editions of classic and modern literature as well as children's books. Working from their own studios to create audiobooks of the highest technical and artistic quality, their skilled and experienced narrators and producers bring the greatest classics of literature vividly to life, complete and unabridged, exactly as they were written by some of the world's finest authors.

Sylvia Vetta, Author

Sylvia is an Oxford-based author who has had an audiobook made of her first novel (by Essential Audiobooks) Brushstrokes in Time (Claret Press) and has a new book Sculpting the Elephant (Claret Press) due to be released in March 2019.


November 2018: Publishing in China - What's Next?

Our November speaker event, in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes was a lively discussion about the future of the Chinese publishing industry – and what it means for the UK publishers who want to access it.

With a population of over 1.4 billion people, China is the biggest market in the world – and with the book market estimated at over £14 billion, this means big business for publishers. With the organisers of the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) reporting an increase of 30% in the number of publishing professionals attending this year, international publishers are clearly keen to get a piece of the action.

Our speakers were:

Angus Phillips, Head of the School of Arts and Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies and The Confucius Institute, Oxford Brookes

James McCall, Visiting Lecturer and Professor in International Publishing at various Chinese universities and consultant to donor agencies and governments on textbook publishing policy

Su Yen Hu, Director of Snowflake Books, an Oxford-based independent publisher of children's books drawn from ancient Chinese fairy stories and legends, with full texts in English and Chinese


September 2018: Careers in 21st Century Publishing

Our September event was a lively and fascinating discussion about how to develop a career in the publishing sector - from getting entry level positions, to moving between different roles, to looking for opportunities outside of the traditional publishing company. Our trio of speakers, Ian Campsall (Elsevier), Aaron O’Dowling-Keane (Sherlock: The Game is Now) and Saskia Watts (Vitalsource/Ingram) - pictured below - had some great insights on skills building and career development, based on their own varied experiences of the industry - as well as touching on the importance of a healthy work-life balance.

Our amazing sponsors, Atwood Tate wrote a blog post where you can read more about the event: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/21st-century-publishing-careers-oxford/ 


August 2018: OPuS and SYP (Society of Young Publishers) Joint Summer Party


May 2018: Bookselling Today - Different Perspectives


March 2018: Securing Trust and Reliability in Scholarly Publishing


February 2018: Letting Books Be Books: Breaking Gender Barriers in Children's Publishing



December 2017: Eat, Drink and Be Merry Christmas Party with Bookmachine


November 2017: The Future of Illustrated Publishing

You can read more about the event on the Oxford Brookes Publishing blog: https://publishing.brookes.ac.uk/blog/article/the_future_of_illustrated_publishing/